The gluten-free flour replacer is my go-to
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Credit: Photo by Kelsey Hansen

Even with all the gluten-free hype, I still use all-purpose flour in most baking endeavors. Except when it comes to breakfast. That’s when I reach for chickpea flour. Also known as garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour is nutty and dense, and a bit more gritty than most flours. Its unique texture and flavor instantly adds complexity to any baked good. Made from dried and ground chickpeas, chickpea flour is high in protein and naturally gluten-free, making it surprisingly sturdy when it comes to baking.

Compared with other gluten-free flours like rice or coconut, which tend to be lower in protein and therefore require some sort of starchy binder like xanthan gum to avoid crumbling, chickpea flour keeps baked goods moist and intact. These are just a few of my favorite things to make with chickpea flour:

A Super-Simple Crepe or Wrap

Whisk together 1 cup of chickpea flour with ¾ cup of water and a pinch of salt, then cook ladlefuls of the batter on a lightly greased nonstick pan like a giant pancake. You can then use the crepes as wraps for breakfast burritos or other savory sandwiches, or go sweet and fill it with cottage cheese or ricotta, Nutella or drippy nut butters, and fresh berries.

Muffins, Cookies, and Quick Breads

Though you can mix it with other flours (gluten-free or regular) to add complexity in flavor, chickpea flour is sturdy enough to do the heavy lifting in baking all by itself. Try a 1 to 1 swap for flour in blender muffins, pumpkin bread, or sunflower butter breakfast cookies.

An Eggless Omelet

We’ve already basically established that chickpea flour is magic, and nothing proves this more than when I make omelets with the stuff. When you mix the flour with baking soda, nondairy milk, and (for extra fluffiness) whipped aquafaba, you’ll get a completely vegan omelet that looks and tastes eerily like the real thing.

Socca and Panisse

Crispy yet tender and piping hot, socca and panisse are some of the best things you can do with chickpea flour. Both snacks start out with a simply batter of chickpea flour, water, and olive oil, and cooked like a large pancake. While socca is typically served whole, topped with fresh herbs or thinly sliced vegetables, panisse gets one extra-special step: The pancake is cut into shards and then deep-fried, after which it gets a shower of flakey sea salt. Reader, I warn you, it’s very hard to stop eating panisse.